One reason so many teams get so little out of that spot is … well … they give the job to a mediocre hitter. You’d think it elementary that a manager wants to have his better batters bat the most, but what can you say when the majority of White Sox lineups have had Brent Morel or Gordon Beckham batting 2nd? Their career OBPs before this year were .285 and .318, respectively. Sure, no one foresaw them being as horrid as they’ve been so far — but was there any reason to think either one would do well in the #2 role? Morel was an especially comical choice, going 6 for 43 with 20 strikeouts and 3 walks before that particular experiment was scuttled.
...The ChiSox rank 3rd in OBP from the leadoff spot (.375) and 5th from #3. But their cleanup men (mainly Paul Konerko) rank 11th in PAs with RISP and with any runner on. And so Konerko, batting .362 over all and .387 with RISP, and playing in every game but one, is on pace for 30 HRs, but only 90 RBI.
I offer one last stat line: In 1991, a young sweet-swinging lefty with some pop batted 2nd for the White Sox most of the year and drove in 100 runs on the nose. In 114 games hitting 2nd, he produced 87 RBI (that’s 124 RBI per 162 G), with 21 HRs, a .294 BA and .378 OBP. He sacrificed just 4 times. The White Sox had just 2 other regulars with OPS+ above 98, and they played in a neutral park, but they were well above average in scoring.
That sweet-swinging lefty now makes out the White Sox lineup cards. Robin Ventura, free your mind. Free Adam Dunn. Bat him 2nd!